A high prevalence of gallstones has been described in patients following colectomy. The aim of this study was to examine whether lithogenicity is attributed to colectomy. In the present study, changes in gallbladder bile composition and the mechanism of gallstone formation after colectomy were examined in dogs. Ten mongrel dogs underwent restorative proctocolectomy. Seven dogs which received sham operations served as controls. Over a 12-week postoperative period, samples of gallbladder bile, formed gallstones and serum were collected and analyzed. In 7 of the 10 (70%) colectomized dogs, gallstones were found in the gallbladder, while the control dogs had no stones. Macroscopically the gallstones were similar to black pigment stones observed in humans. Chemical analysis and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy examination revealed that the stones were composed mainly of sodium bilirubinate and proteins, with minor amounts of calcium salts and cholesterol. Significant increases in biliary pH and concentrations of ionized calcium and unconjugated bilirubin were observed in the gallbladder bile of the colectomy group compared with that of the control group. The total bile acid and total bilirubin concentrations were significantly decreased in the colectomy group. Cholesterol crystal nucleation did not occur. The inhibitory effect of gallbladder bile on calcium carbonate precipitation in an in vitro assay system was preserved even after colectomy. In conclusion, proctocolectomy increases the concentration of unconjugated bilirubin in gallbladder bile and induces pigment gallstones which are composed mainly of sodium bilirubinate and proteins since calcium ions and cholesterol are stabilized in dogs.
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